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What is Beneath the Temple Mount?

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Holy War
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« on: June 23, 2012, 03:43:25 pm »

What is Beneath the Temple Mount?
As Israeli archaeologists recover artifacts from the religious site, ancient history inflames modern-day political tensions

    By Joshua Hammer
    Photographs by Polaris
    Smithsonian magazine, April 2011

Non-Muslims use a wood ramp to enter the complex, home to the gilded Dome of the Rock, an Islamic shrine, and the Western Wall, holy to Jews.

My stint as an amateur archaeologist began one morning on the southern slope of Mount Scopus, a hill on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem. Inside a large hothouse covered in plastic sheets and marked “Temple Mount Salvage Operation,” a woman from Boston named Frankie Snyder—a volunteer turned staffer—led me to three rows of black plastic buckets, each half-filled with stones and pebbles, then pointed out a dozen wood-framed screens mounted on plastic stands. My job, she said, was to dump each bucket onto a screen, rinse off any soil with water from a garden hose, then pluck out anything of potential importance.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounded. A chunk of what looked like conglomerate rock turned out to be plaster used to line cisterns during the time of Herod the Great, some 2,000 years ago. When I tossed aside a shard of green glass I thought was from a soft-drink bottle, Snyder snatched it up. “Notice the bubbles,” she told me, holding it up to the light. “That indicates it’s ancient glass, because during that time, oven temperatures didn’t reach as high as they do now.”

Gradually, I got the hang of it. I spotted the handle of an ancient piece of pottery, complete with an indentation for thumb support. I retrieved a rough-edged coin minted more than 1,500 years ago and bearing the profile of a Byzantine emperor. I also found a shard of glass from what could only have been a Heineken bottle—a reminder that the Temple Mount has also been the scene of less historic activities.

The odds and ends I was gathering are the fruits of one of Israel’s most intriguing archaeological undertakings: a grain-by-grain analysis of debris trucked out of the Temple Mount, the magnificent edifice that has served the faithful as a symbol of God’s glory for 3,000 years and remains the crossroads of the three great monotheistic religions.

Jewish tradition holds that it is the site where God gathered the dust to create Adam and where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac to prove his faith. King Solomon, according to the Bible, built the First Temple of the Jews on this mountaintop circa 1000 B.C., only to have it torn down 400 years later by troops commanded by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who sent many Jews into exile. In the first century B.C., Herod expanded and refurbished a Second Temple built by Jews who had returned after their banishment. It is here that, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ lashed out against the money changers (and was later crucified a few hundred yards away). The Roman general Titus exacted revenge against Jewish rebels, sacking and burning the Temple in A.D. 70.

Among Muslims, the Temple Mount is called Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). They believe it was here that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the “Divine Presence” on the back of a winged horse—the Miraculous Night Journey, commemorated by one of Islam’s architectural triumphs, the Dome of the Rock shrine. A territorial prize occupied or conquered by a long succession of peoples—including Jebusites, Israelites, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, early Muslims, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans and the British—the Temple Mount has seen more momentous historical events than perhaps any other 35 acres in the world. Nonetheless, archaeologists have had little opportunity to search for physical evidence to sort legend from reality. For one thing, the site remains a place of active worship. The authority that controls the compound, an Islamic council called the Waqf, has long forbidden archaeological excavations, which it views as desecration. Except for some clandestine surveys of caves, cisterns and tunnels undertaken by European adventurers in the late 19th century—and some minor archaeological work conducted by the British from 1938 to 1942, when the Al-Aqsa Mosque was undergoing renovation—the layers of history beneath the Temple Mount have remained tantalizingly out of reach.

Thus the significance of those plastic buckets of debris I saw on Mount Scopus.

Today the Temple Mount, a walled compound within the Old City of Jerusalem, is the site of two magnificent structures: the Dome of the Rock to the north and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the south. In the southwest stands the Western Wall—a remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest site in Judaism. Some 300 feet from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the southeast corner of the compound, a wide plaza leads to underground vaulted archways that have been known for centuries as Solomon’s Stables—probably because the Templars, an order of knights, are said to have kept their horses there when the Crusaders occupied Jerusalem. In 1996, the Waqf converted the area into a prayer hall, adding floor tiles and electric lighting. The Muslim authorities claimed the new site—named the El-Marwani Mosque—was needed to accommodate additional worshipers during Ramadan and on rain days that prevented the faithful from gathering in the open courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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Holy War
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2012, 03:44:22 pm »

Three years later, the Waqf, with the approval of the Israeli government, announced plans to create an emergency exit for the El-Marwani Mosque. But Israeli officials later accused the Waqf of exceeding its self-stated mandate. Instead of a small emergency exit, the Waqf excavated two arches, creating a massive vaulted entranceway. In doing so, bulldozers dug a pit more than 131 feet long and nearly 40 feet deep. Trucks carted away hundreds of tons of soil and debris.

Israeli archaeologists and scholars raised an outcry. Some said the Waqf was deliberately trying to obliterate evidence of Jewish history. Others laid the act to negligence on a monstrous scale.

“That earth was saturated with the history of Jerusalem,” says Eyal Meiron, a historian at the Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Eretz Israel. “A toothbrush would be too large for brushing that soil, and they did it with bulldozers.”

Yusuf Natsheh, the Waqf’s chief archaeologist, was not present during the operation. But he told the Jerusalem Post that archaeological colleagues had examined the excavated material and had found nothing of significance. The Israelis, he told me, were “exaggerating” the value of the found artifacts. And he bristled at the suggestion the Waqf sought to destroy Jewish history. “Every stone is a Muslim development,” he says. “If anything was destroyed, it was Muslim heritage.”

Zachi Zweig was a third-year archaeology student at Bar- Ilan University, near Tel Aviv, when he heard news reports about dump trucks transporting Temple Mount soil to the Kidron Valley. With the help of a fellow student he rounded up 15 volunteers to visit the dump site, where they began surveying and collecting samples. A week later, Zweig presented his findings—including pottery fragments and ceramic tiles—to archaeologists attending a conference at the university. Zweig’s presentation angered officials at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). “This is nothing but a show disguised as research,” Jon Seligman, the IAA’s Jerusalem Region Archaeologist, told the Jerusalem Post. “It was a criminal deed to take these items without approval or permission.” Soon afterward, Israeli police questioned Zweig and released him. By that point though, Zweig says, his cause had attracted the attention of the media and of his favorite lecturer at Bar-Ilan—the archaeologist Gaby Barkay.

Zweig urged Barkay to do something about the artifacts. In 2004, Barkay got permission to search the soil dumped in the Kidron Valley. He and Zweig hired trucks to cart it from there to Emek Tzurim National Park at the foot of Mount Scopus, collected donations to support the project and recruited people to undertake the sifting. The Temple Mount Sifting Project, as it is sometimes called, marks the first time archaeologists have systematically studied material removed from beneath the sacred compound.

Barkay, ten full-time staffers and a corps of part-time volunteers have uncovered a wealth of artifacts, ranging from three scarabs (either Egyptian or inspired by Egyptian design), from the second millennium B.C., to the uniform badge of a member of the Australian Medical Corps, who was billeted with the army of British Gen. Edmund Allenby after defeating the Ottoman Empire in Jerusalem during World War I. A bronze coin dating to the Great Revolt against the Romans (A.D. 66-70) bears the Hebrew phrase, “Freedom of Zion.” A silver coin minted during the era when the Crusaders ruled Jerusalem is stamped with the image of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Barkay says some discoveries provide tangible evidence of biblical accounts. Fragments of terra-cotta figurines, from between the eighth and sixth centuries B.C., may support the passage in which King Josiah, who ruled during the seventh century, initiated reforms that included a campaign against idolatry. Other finds challenge long-held beliefs. For example, it is widely accepted that early Christians used the Mount as a garbage dump on the ruins of the Jewish temples. But the abundance of coins, ornamental crucifixes and fragments of columns found from Jerusalem’s Byzantine era (A.D. 380–638) suggest that some public buildings were constructed there. Barkay and his colleagues have published their main findings in two academic journals in Hebrew, and they plan to eventually publish a book-length account in English.
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2012, 03:46:07 pm »

But Natsheh, the Waqf’s chief archaeologist, dismisses Barkay’s finds because they were not found in situ in their original archaeological layers in the ground. “It is worth nothing,” he says of the sifting project, adding that Barkay has leapt to unwarranted conclusions in order to strengthen the Israeli argument that Jewish ties to the Temple Mount are older and stronger than those of the Palestinians. “This is all to serve his politics and his agenda,” Natsheh says.

To be sure, the Mount is a flash point in the Middle East conflict. Israel seized East Jerusalem and the Old City from Jordan in 1967. While Israelis saw this as the reunification of their ancient capital, Palestinians still deem East Jerusalem to be occupied Arab land (a position also held by the United Nations).The Temple Mount is precariously balanced between these opposing views. Although Israel claims political sovereignty over the compound, custodianship remains with the Waqf. As such, Israelis and Palestinians cautiously eye each other for any tilt in the status quo. A September 2000 visit to the Temple Mount by the Israeli politician Ariel Sharon was interpreted by Palestinians as a provocative assertion of Israel’s sovereignty, and helped spark the second intifada uprising, which, by some estimates, claimed as many as 6,600 lives, as rioting, armed clashes and terrorist bombings erupted throughout the Palestinian territories and Israel. At its core, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict represents rival claims to the same territory—and both sides rely on history to make the case for whose roots in the land run deepest.

For the Israelis, that history begins 3,000 years ago, when the Temple Mount—believed by many biblical scholars to be the mountain in the region of Moriah mentioned in the Book of Genesis—was an irregularly shaped mound rising some 2,440 feet among the stark Judean Hills. The summit loomed above a small settlement called Jebus, which clung to a ridge surrounded by ravines. The Old Testament describes how an army led by David, the second king of ancient Israel, breached the walls of Jebus around 1000 B.C. David then built a palace nearby and created his capital, Jerusalem. At the site of a threshing floor atop the mountain, where farmers had separated grains from chaff, David constructed a sacrificial altar. According to the Second Book of Kings and the First Book of Chronicles, David’s son, Solomon, built the First Temple (later known as the Beit Hamikdash) on that site.

“The Temple Mount was the Parthenon of the Jews,” says Barkay, describing how worshipers would have climbed a steep set of stairs to get to it. “You would feel every step of the climb in your limbs and your lungs.”

Still, “we know nothing about the First Temple, because there are no traces of its physical remains,” says Benjamin Kedar, a history professor at Hebrew University and chairman of the board of directors at the IAA. Scholars, however, have pieced together a tentative portrait of the Beit Hamikdash from descriptions in the Bible and architectural remains of sanctuaries elsewhere in the region built during the same era. It is envisioned as a complex of richly painted and gilded courts, constructed with cedar, fir and sandalwood. The rooms would have been built around an inner sanctum—the Holy of Holies—where the ark of the covenant, an acacia-wood chest covered with gold and containing the original Ten Commandments, was said to have been stored.

Until recently, Palestinians generally acknowledged that the Beit Hamikdash existed. A 1929 publication, A Brief Guide to the Haram al-Sharif, written by Waqf historian Aref al Aref, declares that the Mount’s “identity with the site of Solomon’s temple is beyond dispute. This too is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt and peace offerings.” But in recent decades, amid the intensifying quarrel over the sovereignty of East Jerusalem, a growing number of Palestinian officials and academics have voiced doubts. “I will not allow it to be written of me that I have...confirmed the existence of the so-called Temple beneath the Mount,” Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat told President Bill Clinton at the Camp David peace talks in 2000. Arafat suggested the site of the Temple Mount might have been in the West Bank town of Nablus, known as Shechem in ancient times.

Five years after the Camp David talks, Barkay’s sifting project turned up a lump of black clay with a seal impression inscribed with the name, in ancient Hebrew, “[Gea]lyahu [son of] Immer.” In the Book of Jeremiah, a son of Immer—Pashur—is identified as chief administrator of the First Temple. Barkay suggests that the seal’s owner could have been Pashur’s brother. If so, it’s a “significant find,” he says—the first Hebrew inscription from the First Temple period to be found on the Mount itself.

But Natsheh—sipping Arabic coffee in his office at Waqf headquarters, a 700-year-old former Sufi monastery in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City—is dubious. He says he’s also frustrated by Israeli dismissal of Palestinian claims to the sacred compound where, he says, the Muslim presence—excepting the Crusader period (A.D. 1099-1187)—“extends for 1,400 years.” Natsheh won’t say if he believes in the existence of the First Temple, given the current political climate. “Whether I say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ it would be misused,” he tells me, fidgeting. “I would not like to answer.”
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 03:48:03 pm »

According to contemporary accounts, the Babylonian Army destroyed the First Temple in 586 B.C. The ark of the covenant disappeared, possibly hidden from the conquerors. Following the conquest of Jerusalem by the Persians in 539 B.C., the Jews returned from exile and, according to the Book of Ezra, constructed a Second Temple on the site.

In the first century B.C., King Herod undertook a massive reshaping of the Temple Mount. He filled up the slopes surrounding the mount’s summit and expanded it to its present size. He enclosed the holy site within a 100-foot-high retaining wall constructed of limestone blocks quarried from the Jerusalem Hills and constructed a far more expansive version of the Second Temple. “Herod’s attitude was, ‘Anything you can do, I can do better and larger,’” says Barkay. “It was part of his megalomania. He wanted also to compete with God.”

Barkay says he and his co-workers have turned up physical evidence that hints at the grandeur of the Second Temple, including pieces of what appear to be opus sectile floor tiles—elements of a technique in Herod’s time that used stone of various colors and shapes to create geometric patterns. (Describing the temple, the ancient historian Jo­sephus wrote of an open-air courtyard “laid with stones of all sorts.”) Other discoveries might offer glimpses of daily religious rituals—notably ivory and bone combs that could have been used in preparation for a ritual mikvah, or purifying bath, before entering the courts’ sanctified interior.

On a cloudless morning, I join historian Meiron for a tour of the Temple Mount. We enter the Old City through the Dung Gate and then arrive at the Western Wall plaza. When the Romans destroyed Herod’s temple in A.D. 70, they knocked the retaining wall down piece by piece. But the stones from the top tumbled down and formed a protective barrier that preserved the wall’s lower portions. Today, hundreds of Orthodox Jews are gathered in devotion before the remnant of that wall—a ritual that perhaps first occurred in the fourth century A.D. and has been practiced continually since the early 16th century, after the Ottoman conquest of Jerusalem.

During the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, this area was a warren of Arab houses, and Jews who wanted to pray here had to squeeze into a 12-foot-wide corridor in front of the Herodian stones. “My father came here as a child and he told me, ‘We used to go through alleys; we entered a door; and there was the wall on top of us,’ ” Meiron tells me. After Israel claimed sovereignty over East Jerusalem in 1967, it demolished the Arab houses, creating the plaza.

Meiron and I climb a “temporary” wooden walkway that leads above the Western Wall to the Mughrabi Gate, the only entry point to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims—and a symbol of how any attempt to change the site’s geography can upset the delicate status quo. Israel erected the wooden structure after an earthen ramp collapsed in 2004, following an earthquake and heavy snowfall. In 2007, the IAA approved the construction of a permanent bridge that would stretch from the Old City’s Dung Gate to the Mughrabi Gate.

But members of both the Jewish and Muslim communities opposed the plan. Some Israeli archaeologists raised an outcry over the bridge’s proposed path through the Jerusalem Archaeological Park—the site of excavations conducted in the Old City—saying the construction could damage artifacts. The late Ehud Netzer, the archaeologist who discovered King Herod’s tomb in 2007, argued that moving the entrance ramp could effectively cut off the Western Wall’s connection to the Temple Mount, thereby undermining Israel’s claims to sovereignty over the sacred compound. And the Israeli activist group Peace Now warned the project might alarm Muslims since the new route and size of the bridge (three times the original ramp) would increase non-Muslim traffic to the Mount.

Indeed, when Israel began a legally required archaeological survey of the planned construction site, Palestinians and Arab Israelis joined in a chorus of protest. They claimed the Israeli excavations—although conducted several yards outside the walls of the sacred compound—threatened the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Some even said that it was Israel’s covert plan to unearth remains of the First and Second Temples in order to solidify its historic claim to the Mount. For the time being, non-Muslim visitors continue to use the temporary wooden bridge that has been in place for seven years.

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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2012, 03:49:16 pm »

Such disputes inevitably send ripples throughout the international community. Both the Jordanian and Turkish governments protested Israel’s plans for the new walkway. And in November 2010, the Palestinian Authority created a diplomatic kerfuffle when it published a study declaring the Western Wall was not a Jewish holy site at all, but part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The study contended, “This wall was never part of the so-called Temple Mount, but Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it and weep over its destruction,” which the U.S. State Department called “factually incorrect, insensitive and highly provocative.”

Today, the scene is calm. At various spots on the wide, leafy plaza Palestinian men gather in study groups, reading the Koran. We ascend steps toward the magnificent Dome of the Rock—which was built during the same period as the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the south, between A.D. 685 and 715. The Dome of the Rock is built on top of the Foundation Stone, which is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. According to Jewish tradition, the stone is the “navel of the Earth”—the place where creation began, and the site where Abraham was poised to sacrifice Isaac. For Muslims, the stone marks the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the Divine Presence.

On the east side of the Temple Mount’s retaining wall, Meiron shows me the Golden Gate, an elaborate gatehouse and portal. Its provenance remains a subject of debate among historians, pitting the majority, who claim early Muslims built it, against those who insist it is a Byzantine Christian structure.

Historians who argue that the Byzantines didn’t build the gate point to ancient accounts describing how early Christians turned the Mount into a garbage heap. The Byzantines, scholars say, saw the destruction of the Second Temple as vindication of Jesus’ prophecy that “not one stone shall be left here upon another” and as a symbol of Judaism’s downfall. But other historians counter that the eastern entrance to the Mount, where the Golden Gate was built, was important to the Byzantines because their interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew holds that Jesus entered the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives to the east when he joined his disciples for the Passover meal. And in A.D. 614, when the Persian Empire conquered and briefly ruled Jerusalem, they took back to Persia parts of the True Cross (believed to be the cross of the Crucifixion) from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Fifteen years later, after defeating the Persians, Heraclius, a Byzantine emperor, is said to have brought the True Cross back to the holy city—passing from the Mount of Olives to the Temple Mount, and then to the Holy Sepulchre. “Thus you had two triumphant entrances: Jesus and Heraclius,” says Meiron. “That’s enough to explain why the Byzantines would invest in building that gate.”

While Barkay is in the camp that believes the Golden Gate is an early Muslim structure, Meiron thinks the sifting project’s discovery of Byzantine-era crosses, coins and ornamental columns supports the theory that the gate was built by the Byzantines. “Now we’re not so sure the Temple Mount fell into disrepair,” Meiron says. In addition, Barkay has found archival photographs taken during renovations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the late 1930s that appear to reveal Byzantine mosaics beneath the structure—further evidence that some sort of public building had been constructed at the site.

I visited Barkay at his modest apartment in East Talpiot, a Jewish suburb of East Jerusalem. The grizzled, chain-smoking archaeologist was born in Budapest in 1944, the very day the Nazis sent his family to the city’s Jewish ghetto. After the war his father—who had spent a year in a Nazi forced labor camp in Ukraine—established the first Israeli delegation in Budapest, and the family emigrated to Israel in 1950. Barkay earned his doctorate in archaeology at Tel Aviv University. In 1979, exploring a series of ancient burial caves in an area of Jerusalem above the Valley of Hinnom, he made a remarkable discovery: two 2,700-year-old silver scrolls delicately etched with the priestly blessing that Aaron and his sons bestowed on the children of Israel, as mentioned in the Book of Numbers. Barkay describes the scrolls, which contain the earliest-known fragments of a biblical text, as “the most important find of my life.”

Barkay and I get into my car and drive toward Mount Scopus. I ask him about Natsheh’s charge that the sifting project is infused with a political agenda. He shrugs. “Sneezing in Jerusalem is an intensely political activity. You can do it to the right, to the left, on the face of an Arab or a Jew. Whatever you do, or don’t do, is political.”

Still, some criticism of Barkay stems not from politics but from skepticism about his methodology. Natsheh is not the only archaeologist to raise questions about the value of artifacts not found in situ. The dirt excavated by the Waqf is landfill from previous eras. Part of that landfill, Barkay says, comes from the Mount’s eastern section, which the Waqf paved over in 2001. But most of it, he says, was taken from vacant parts of the Mount when an entrance to Solomon’s Stables was blocked, sometime between the reign of the Fatimid and Ayyubid dynasties. Collectively, he says, the landfill includes artifacts from all periods of the site.
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2012, 03:50:03 pm »

But Israeli archaeologist Danny Bahat told the Jerusalem Post that, since the dirt was filler, the layers do not represent a meaningful chronology. “What they did is like putting the remains in a blender,” adds Jerusalem region archaeologist Seligman about the Waqf excavation. “All the layers are now mixed and damaged.” Archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov, a specialist on the Old City, has raised doubts as to whether all the landfill even originated on the Temple Mount. Some of it, he suggests, was brought there from Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter.

Barkay, not surprisingly, rejects this suggestion, citing the frequent finds of Ottoman glazed wall-tile fragments from the Dome of the Rock, dating back to the 16th century, when Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent repaired and beautified the shrine. And, though the excavated soil is not in situ, he says that, even if one were to discount the scientific value of the artifacts by 80 percent, “we are left with 20 percent, which is a lot more than zero.”

Barkay identifies and dates the artifacts through “typology”: he compares his finds with similarly made objects in which a timeline has been firmly established. For instance, the opus sectile pieces Barkay found in the soil were precisely the same—in terms of material, shape and dimensions—as those that Herod used in palaces at Jericho, Masada and Herodium.

We arrive at Barkay’s salvaging operation, and he greets a handful of staffers. Then he leads the way to a worktable and shows me a sampling of a single day’s efforts. “Here’s a bowl fragment from the First Temple period,” he says. “A Byzantine coin here. A Crusader arrowhead made of iron. This is a Hasmonean coin, from the dynasty that ruled Judah in the second century B.C.” Barkay tells me that volunteers by the hundreds arrive each week to help with the sifting—even ultra-Orthodox Jews, who traditionally oppose archaeological excavations in the Holy Land. “They say all the evidence is in the [scriptural] sources, you don’t need physical proof. But they’re willing to make an exception, because it’s the Temple Mount.” Barkay pauses. “If I look at some of the volunteers, and I see the excitement in their eyes, that they with their own fingers can touch the history of Jerusalem, this is irreplaceable.” He admits the project has attracted “very few” Palestinians or Arab Israelis.

Leading me outside the plastic-covered building, Barkay squints into the sunlight. We can see the Temple Mount in the distance, the sunlight glinting off the golden-topped Dome of the Rock. “We’ve been working for six years, and we’ve gone through 20 percent of the material,” he says, pointing to huge heaps of earth that fill an olive grove below the tent. “We have another 15 to 20 years to go.”

Joshua Hammer wrote about the Bamiyan Buddhas in the November 2010 issue. Kate Brooks is an Istanbul-based photojournalist who has worked in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2012, 03:50:37 pm »

Highlights in the History of
Jerusalem and the Temple Mount

Jewish /
Common Era    Key People    City of Jerusalem    Temple Mount
c. 1760/
c. 2000 BCE    Abraham    Abraham visits Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of El Elyon ("God Most High") (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 6:20-7:22)     
c. 1760/
c. 2000 BCE    Abraham
Joseph    Abraham journeys three days from Beershiva or Garet to Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice in obedience to God's command. God provides a substitute. (Genesis 22, Hebrews 11:8-19)    Mt. Moriah is the site of the Temple Mount.
c. 2360/
c. 1400 BCE    Joshua    After setting up the Ark at Shiloh near Shechem (Nablus), Joshua launches foray into Jerusalem. (Joshua 10:23, 15:63)     
c. 2760/
c. 1000 BCE    David    David conquers Jebosite stronghold of Zion, builds city f David south of Temple Mount, reigns 33 years in Jerusalem after 7-year reign at Hebron. (2 Samuel 5:1-15)    David returns Ark to Jerusalem and places it in Tabernacle of Moses erected there. (2 Samuel 6:1-18, 1 Chronicles 15:1-16:43). David plans First Temple, but not permitted to build it. (2 Samuel 7:1-17)

David purchases Threshing Floor of Araunah, site of First Temple and erects altar of sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. (2 Samuel 24:1-25 1 Chronicles 21:1-22:5)
c. 2810/
c. 950 BCE    Solomon    Solomon builds Royal Palace and enlarges city, 13-year period. (I Kings 7:1-12)    Solomon, with help of Hiram of Tyre and 183,600 workers, builds the First Temple and Royal Palace using local limestone, cedar from Lebanon and great amounts of gold and silver. (Temple built in seven years.) (1 Kings 5-9, 2 Chronicles 2)
c. 2850/
c. 910 BCE    Rehoboam
Jonah    Kingdom divided, 10 northern tribes, 2 southern tribes.    Pharaoh Shishak of Egypt plunders temple carrying off much gold and silver. (1 Kings 14:25-28, 2 Chronicles 12:1-11)
c. 2925/
c. 835 BCE    Joash
Hosea    Joash, King of Judah    Joash repairs temple, establishes maintenance fund, and brings period of revival and reforms to southern kingdom. (2 Kings 12:5ff).
c. 3040/
c. 720 BCE    Ahaz
Micah    Ahaz, King of Judah    Dismantles Solomon's bronze vessels and places private Syrian altar in the temple. (2 Kings 16:1-20, 2 Chronicles 28ff)
c. 3044/
c. 716 BCE    Hezekiah
Isaiah    Hezekiah, King in Jerusalem, with help of God and the prophet Isaiah resists Assyrian attempt to capture Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 32). Wells and springs stopped up.    Restore. Temple and brings period of national reform and revival (2 Chronicles 29-31). Later strips gold to pay tribute to Sennacherib. (2 Kings 18-16)
c. 3120/
c. 640 BCE    Josiah
Habakkuk          Josiah repairs the Temple and brings about national religious reforms. (2 Chronicles 34-35).
c. 3174/
Sunday, 9th of Av, 587 BCE    Jehoichin
Jeremiah    Nebuchadnezzar lays siege to Jerusalem, burning the city, murdering inhabitants, and carrying a remnant into captivity. (2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36, Josephus)    Temple destroyed and sacred vessels carried off to Babylon. These vessels desecrated in Babylon by Belshazzar. (Daniel 5)
c. 3187/
c. 573 BCE    Ezekiel
Daniel    Jeremiah prophesies a 70-year captivity in Babylon. (Jeremiah 29:1-14)    Ezekiel receives a vision from God describing in detail the great Temple to be built during the reign of the Messiah in an age which is yet to come. (Ezekiel 40-48)
c. 3219/
c. 541 BCE    Zerubbabel
(Esther)    First Jews return from Babylon in small numbers to rebuild the city and its walls. 70 years of exile terminated. (Daniel 9, Haggai 2:18-19)    Second Temple built despite fierce opposition and delays, beginning with **** of an altar of sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. Temple completed after 15-year delay in 515 BCE.
c. 3428/
c. 332 BCE    Alexander the Great (Daniel 8:21-23, 11:2-4)    Priests from Jerusalem meet invading army of Alexander and dissuade him from destroying Jerusalem by showing him Scriptures that predict his rise to power. After the death of Alexander a series of wars between Syria and Egypt subject the Holy Land to multiple distresses. (Daniel 9:24-27, 11:1-35; Zechariah 9:1-10; Josephus)     
c. 3585-3597/
c. 175-163 BCE    Antiochus Ephiphanes IV    The "little horn" of Daniel 8:9, a cruel Syrian (Selicid) king plunders Jerusalem, murdering many Jews. (Daniel 11:21-35)    Antiochus desecrates the temple, offers a sow upon the altar and carries off temple treasuries. Worship and sacrifices haIted, 15 December 167 BCE.
c. 3570/
170 BCE    Maccabees    Godly Jews under Mattathias begin revolt culminating in repossession of Jerusalem. (1 Maccabees)    Temple purified and worship and sacrifices restored in 165 BCE.
c. 3615/
c. 141 BCE          The Roman Akva Fortress is conquered by the Maccabees, thus freeing the Temple from alien supervision.     
c. 3697/
c. 63 BCE    Pompey    Roman conquest of the Holy Land. (Daniel 2:40-43)    Pompey brazenly enters Holy of Holies, disappointed to find it empty.
c. 3720/
c. 40 BCE    Herod the Great (d. 4 BCE)    Cruel, despotic Roman ruler, an. Idumean, (who murdered the infants in Bethlehem). Building projects at Jericho, Hebron, and Caesarea to placate the Jews.    Temple Mount vastly enlarged and leveled. Second Temple rebuilt and enlarged, 10,000 workers, 100 priests, 1000 wagons. Temple and courts rebuilt until 63 BCE. City and walls under construction 46 years.
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2012, 03:51:12 pm »

c. 3837/
c. 3 BCE
c. 3822/
62 CE    Early Christian Era Highlights Located Below in Separate Section
c. 3831/
9th of Av,70 CE          Roman General Titus besieges Jerusalem destroying city and murdering inhabitants, terrible suffering and destruction. (Josephus)    Temple set afire, soldiers tear every stone apart to get melted gold. Menorah and vessels carried to Rome. Treasury robbed.
c. 136 CE    Hadrian    Undertakes rebuilding of Jerusalem as "Aelia Capitolina" provoking unsuccessful Bar Kochba revolt in 135 by devout Jews.    Hadrian erects Temple of Jupiter on Temple Mount and statue of himself facing east in front. Jewish attempt to build Third Temple fails.
c. 4093/
c. 333 CE                "Traveller of Bordeaux" visits Jerusalem and relates Jews praying on Temple Mount.
c. 4090-4400/
c. 330-640 CE    Constantine    Byzantine Period. Christianity made official religion of Roman Empire. Church of the Holy Sepulchre built. Persian conquest in 614 CE. 37,000 Christians exiled to Persia, Jews later banished from Jerusalem also. Byzantine Emperor Herodius recaptures Jerusalem, 629 CE.    Temple Mount neglected, becomes refuse heap. Herodius proposes building near temple.
c. 4122/
c. 362 CE    Julian          Authorizes Jews to rebuild Temple. Work stopped by fire or earthquake.
c. 4160/
c. 400 CE                Heronymus describes Jews mourning onTemple Mount.
c. 4398/
c. 638 CE          Moslem conquest.     
c. 4445-4465/
c. 685-705 CE    Abd el-Malik    Extension of the city and rebuilding of walls and roads.    Islamic tradition alleges that Caliph Omar clears rubbish from temple Mount and prays there in 638 CE. Old wooden El Aksa Mosque constructed, 700 CE, and Dome of the Rock by Abd el-Malik, 684-690 CE.
c. 420-4510/
c. 660-750 CE    Umyyads
Abbasids    Power struggles, revolts and persecutions of Jews and Christians causes Jerusalem to deteriorate.     
c. 4496/
c. 746 CE                Earthquake destroys El Aksa Mosque.
c. 4628/
c. 868 CE    Ahmed ibn Tulun    Palestine annexed to Egypt.    831 CE Caliph al-Mamun orders restoration work on the Dome of the Rock.
c. 4700/
c. 940 CE          Fatimid Caliphs role from Egypt, 969 CE, El-Hakem orders destruction of churches and synagogues, 1010 CE.    Karaite scribe Salomon ben Yerucham writes of synagogues within Temple Mount courtyard.
c. 4776/
c. 1016 CE                Earthquake causes structural damage on Temple Mount.
c. 4790/c. 1030 CE                Rabbi Shlomo ben Yehuda describes Jewish custom of encircling Temple Mount.
c. 4859-4947/
c. 1099-1187 CE    Crusaders    Violent conquest of Holy Land in the name of Christianity. Many Jews and Moslems murdered. Jews sold into slavery and banished from Jerusalem.    Dome of the Rock reconsecrated as "Temple Domini" and El Aksa as "Temple Salomonis."
c. 4793/
1033 CE                Earthquake damages El Aksa Mosque.
c. 4860/
1100 CE                Rabbi Avraham bar Chaya writes of synagogues on Temple Mount.
c. 4926/
1165 CE                Maimonides visits Jerusalem and prays on Temple Mount.
c. 4947/
1187 CE    Saladin    Jerusalem recaptured for Islam. Crusaders defeated.    Dome of the Rock and El Aksa restored to Islam. Icons removed. 1190, walls overlaid with marble inscriptions added in Arabic.
c. 4989/
c. 1229 CE    Frederick II    Al-Malik Al-Kamil of Egypt cedes Jerusalem to Frederick II.     
c. 5004-5277/
c. 1244-1517 CE          Rule by Tartars, Mongols, Ayybids and Mamelukes.    Moslem control of the holy places 1270-1290 CE. Moslem restoration work on Dome. Brass doors added in 1467. Persian tiles added by Suleiman. Lead sheathing to Dome, 1735 CE. Mosaic removed 1835, 1874 CE.
c. 5277/
c. 1517 CE    Ottoman Period    Turkish rule     
5206/c. 1546 CE                Earthquake causes serious damage in Jerusalem.
c. 5592-5600/
c. 1832-1840 CE          Turkish conquest by Sellim I. Suleiman the Magnificent builds walls and improves the city and aqueducts. Jews tolerated, but heavily taxed and property confiscated. Egyptian governorship under Mohamed Ali and Ibrahim Pasha. (1831 CE)     
1855 CE                First acknowledged non-Moslem visitor permitted to enter Temple Mount since 1187 CE.
1866 CE                Jews become majority in Jerusalem.
December 1917 CE          British capture of Jerusalem from the Turks.    Temple Mount first opened to Europeans.
1921-1947 CE          Rule under British Mandate. UN participation in November 1947. Deterioration of British rule. Waves of immigration by Jews under very adverse conditions.     
1927 CE                Earthquake weakens El Aksa Mosque foundations.
June 1948 CE          Rebirth of the State of Israel. December 1949 Jerusalem made capital city. Kenesset built.     
1951 CE                July 20, King Abdullah assassinated at entrance to El Aksa Mosque.
1955-1965 CE          Jerusalem divided. Jordanian rule over old city.    Dome foundations strengthened by Jordanians, 1955-1965 CE. Electric lights added.
June 1967 CE          Jerusalem reunited in 6-day war.    Israeli flag flies temporarily over Temple Mount. Control and stewardship of Temple Mount returned to Moslems. Fire in 1968 destroys pulpit and Mihrab in El Aksa.
Spring 1982 CE                Union of Third Temple Groups, "To the Mountain of the Lord," "The Faithful of the Temple Mount," and the "Jerusalem Temple Foundation." Planning for the Third Temple.
Early Christian Era Highlights
c. 3757/
c. 3 BCE    Jesus
Anna    Herod the Great crowned king, 40 BCE.    Jesus presented at the temple and dedicated to God by his parents, doves offered in sacrifice. (Luke 2:21-24)
c. 3768/
c. 8 CE    Jesus
John the Baptist          Jesus at age 12 talks to priests and teachers in the Second Temple while his parents are in Jerusalem for Passover. Family home at Nazareth (Luke 2:41-50)
c. 3790-3793/
c. 30-33 CE    Jesus    Pilate, 26-36 CE
Herod Antippas, exiled 39 CE
Herod Agrippa, died 44 CE    Jesus tempted by the devil on the pinnacle of the temple, (Luke 4:1-12). Jesus casts out money changers from the temple early in his ministry (John 2:13-16), and again three years later. During his final week of life before the resurrection, he taught in the temple courts and confronted the crowds and Pharisees there. Jesus predicts destruction of the Second Temple. (Matthew 21ff, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12)
c. 3793-3795/
c. 33-35 CE    Peter
John    Jesus leaves his disciples 40 days after the resurrection, ascending from the Mount of Olives. (Acts 1:1-6, John 20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8)    Followers of Jesus gathered in Temple Courts 10 days later on Pentecost Sunday, experience coming of the Spirit of God to give birth to the Church of Jesus Christ. Peter preaches to the crowds and many are healed. (Acts 1ff)
c. 3793-3795/
c. 33-35 CE    Stephen          Martyrdom of Stephen on the Temple Mount, Saul of Tarsus consenting. (Acts 6-7).
c. 3822/
c. 62 CE    James the Just
John (d. 100 CE)    Christians driven from Jerusalem by persecution.    James, brother of Jesus and leader of the Church in Jerusalem, martyred by being thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple Mount.
Based upon document prepared by:
Lambert Dolphin, for the Jerusalem Temple Foundation.
February 1983
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2012, 03:51:40 pm »

A Brief History of the Jewish Temple
by Randall Price

The history of the Jewish Temple begins and ends in prophecy. The Sanctuary (a term inclusive of God's dwelling in all its forms) was proleptically revealed to Abraham in its sacrificial service and permanent location on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:2, 14). Enlarging the Abrahamic revelation in similar terms, Moses receives prophetic instructions at the time of the Exodus for Israel's relationship to the Sanctuary (Ex. 15:17). Later on Mount Sinai, he receives the heavenly blueprint for the Sanctuary and its vessels (Ex. 25:8-9, 40). This verse is important in that it shows that the divine ideal for the Sanctuary is God's manifest Presence on earth among His people (vs. 8; cf. its Millennial expression - Zech. 2:10-12), and that the same celestial pattern (vss. 9, 40) was used for both the Tabernacle and the Temple (cf. 1 Chron. 28:11-19; cf. Rev. 15:5). The Tabernacle is distinguished from the Temple in that it was a portable and temporary dwelling place for God's Presence (Ex. 40:36-38; cf. 2 Sam. 7:6) whereas the Temple was to be a permanent and eternal habitation (2 Chron. 7:16; Ezek. 37:26-28). In token of their mutually prophetic purpose, when the First Temple was built, the Tabernacle/Tent of Meeting was apparently included within it (1 Kgs. 8:4; 2 Chron. 5:5).

It is King David who, meditating on the divine ideal (cf. Psa. 132) is moved to begin the process of building the First Temple (2 Sam. 7:2; 1 Chron. 17:1). However, since the Temple was designed to regulate the universal peace brought by God's Presence on earth during the Millennium (David only understands the restricted concept, cf. 2 Sam. 7:1), it could only be completed by one who was a fitting representative of God's peaceful program (1 Kgs. 3:3-14; 5:3). Yet David was in prophetic succession to those to whom God had previously revealed the Temple's program. This is seen in God's reminding David of the Abrahamic promise (2 Sam. 7:10), and repeating to him the Mosaic revelation (1 Chron. 28:11, 19). On this basis (as a founder, not a builder), David was qualified to make financial and material preparations for the Temple (1 Chron. 29). Solomon ("His peace") however, was to construct the Temple based on the terms of his father's covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-13;1 Kgs. 5:5; 6:12-13). In his prayer of dedication (1 Kgs. Cool is revealed both the Temple's divine ideal as the place of God's Presence (vss. 27-34) and its universal (Millennial) function (vss. 41-43, 56-60).

The Davidic Covenant which provided for a permanent Temple in Jerusalem was nonetheless conditioned upon the Nation's obedience. This meant that throughout Israel's future history the Temple could be removed and returned as often as Israel was fickle or faithful to the covenant. As history unfolded, the First Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. as a direct result of covenantal violations. The downward slide began already in the time of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11:1-13) and culminated with king Manasseh (2 Kgs. 21:7-14), and were especially prolonged with respect to violations of the Sabbath (2 Chron. 36:21).

Restoration began with the return and rebuilding of the Second Temple under Zerubbabel in 515 B.C. (Ezra 1-6), but because of continued covenant violations (cf. Ezra 9; Neh. 13; Mal. 1-4) the Millennial restoration envisioned by the Prophets (cf. Ezek. 40-48) was postponed (cf. Hag. 2:1-9). Half a millennia later, perhaps a decade before Jesus was born in Judea, the Second Temple was in such severe need of repairs that the reigning king Herod the Great refurbished it completely, even expanding its size. Although newly restored, it was still subject to the old terms of the covenantal contract, and with the Nation's rejection of Jesus as Messiah the Temple was again doomed to desolation. All of Jesus pronouncements of the Temple's destruction (Matt. 24:2/Mk. 13:2; Lk. 21:6, 20-24) must be viewed in this light, and not as a rejection or replacement of the Temple as a legitimate institution. In fact joined immediately to Jesus' own pronouncement of the Temple's desolation (Matt. 21:38) is His promise (in the word "until") of Israel (and the Temple's) restoration (Matt. 23:39). This and Jesus' positive statements concerning the Temple elsewhere (Matt. 12: 4; 17:24-27; 23:16-21; Jn. 2:16-17) and especially in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14) hold out the prophetic promise that the history of the Temple would be continued in the future.


Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews; Jewish Wars; Mina C. Klein & H. Arthur Klein, Temple Beyond Time: The Story of the Site of Solomon's Temple (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1970 [general Jewish perspective], Joan Comay, The Temple of Jerusalem (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975) [general Jewish perspective], Benjamin Mazar, The Mountain of the Lord (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1975) [Conservative Jewish perspective], Rabbi Shaul Schaffer & Asher Joseph. Engl. ed. Rabbi Asher Feuchtwanger, Israel's Temple Mount: The Jews' Magnificent Sanctuary (Jerusalem: Achva Press, 1975) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], Meir Ben-Dov, In the Shadow of the Temple: The Discovery of Ancient Jerusalem. Trans. Ina Friedman (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1982) [secular Jewish perspective], Menahem Haran, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1985) [Jewish, higher critical, perspective], Rabbi Leibel Reznick, The Holy Temple Revisited (New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc., 1993) [Orthodox Jewish perspective], Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services [updated edition] (Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994) [Evangelical, Jewish-Christian perspective].
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2012, 03:52:29 pm »

The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew (and in Judaism) as Har haBáyith (Hebrew: הַר הַבַּיִת‎) and in Arabic (and in Islam) as the Haram Ash-Sharif (Arabic: الحرم القدسي الشريف‎, al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf, Noble Sanctuary), is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.[citation needed] It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years. At least four religions are known to have used the Temple Mount: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Roman paganism.

Biblical scholars have often identified it with two biblical mountains of uncertain location: Mount Moriah where the binding of Isaac took place, and Mount Zion where the original Jebusite fortress stood, however both interpretations are disputed.

Judaism regards the Temple Mount as the place where God chose the Divine Presence to rest (Isa 8:18); according to the rabbinic sages whose debates produced the Talmud, it was from here the world expanded into its present form and where God gathered the dust used to create the first man, Adam. The site is the location of Abraham's binding of Isaac, and of two Jewish Temples. According to the Bible the site should function as the center of all national life—a governmental, judicial and, of course, religious center (Deut 12:5-26; 14:23-25; 15:20; 16:2-16; 17:8-10; 26: 2; 31: 11; Isa 2: 2-5; Oba 1:21; Psa 48). During the Second Temple Period it functioned also as an economical center. From that location the word of God will come out to all nations, and that is the site where all prayers are focused. According to Jewish tradition and scripture (2 Chronicles 3:1-2), the first temple was built by Solomon the son of David in 957 BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second was constructed under the auspices of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE and destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Jewish tradition maintains it is here the Third and final Temple will also be built. The location is the holiest site in Judaism and is the place Jews turn towards during prayer. Due to its extreme sanctity, many Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood, since according to Rabbinical law, some aspect of the Divine Presence is still present at the site.[2] It was from the Holy of Holies that the High Priest communicated directly with God.

Among Sunni Muslims, the Mount is widely considered to be the third holiest site in Islam. Revered as the Noble Sanctuary (Bait-ul-Muqaddas) and the location of Muhammad's journey to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven, the site is also associated with Jewish biblical prophets who are also venerated in Islam.[citation needed] After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 637 CE, Umayyad Caliphs commissioned the construction of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock on the site.[3] The Dome was completed in 692 CE, making it one of the oldest extant Islamic structures in the world, after the Kaabah. The Al Aqsa Mosque rests on the far southern side of the Mount, facing Mecca. The Dome of the Rock currently sits in the middle, occupying or close to the area where the Bible mandates the Holy Temple be rebuilt.[4]

In light of the dual claims of both Judaism and Islam, it is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. Since the Crusades, the Muslim community of Jerusalem has managed the site as a Waqf, without interruption.[5] As part of the Old City, controlled by Israel since 1967, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim sovereignty over the site, which remains a major focal point of the Arab-Israeli conflict.[6] In an attempt to keep the status quo, the Israeli government enforces a controversial ban on prayer by non-Muslim visitors.
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2012, 03:52:59 pm »

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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2012, 03:53:43 pm »

Map of Old Jerusalem
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2012, 03:54:24 pm »

The Temple Mount forms the northern portion of a very narrow spur of hill that slopes sharply from north to south. Rising above the Kidron Valley to the east and Tyropoeon Valley to the west,[7] its peak reaches a height of 740 m (2,428 ft) above sea level.[8] In around 19 BCE, Herod the Great extended the Mount's natural plateau by enclosing the area with four massive retaining walls and filling the voids. This artificial expansion resulted in a large flat expanse which today forms the eastern section of the Old City of Jerusalem. The trapezium shaped platform measures 488 m along the west, 470 m along the east, 315 m along the north and 280 m along the south, giving a total area of approximately 150,000 m2 (37 acres).[9] The northern wall of the Mount, together with the northern section of the western wall, is hidden behind residential buildings. The southern section of the western flank is revealed and contains what is known as the Western Wall. The retaining walls on these two sides descend many meters below ground level. A northern portion of the western wall may be seen from within the Western Wall Tunnel, which was excavated through buildings adjacent to the platform. On the southern and eastern sides the walls are visible almost to their full height. The platform itself is separated from the rest of the Old City by the Tyropoeon Valley, though this once deep valley is now largely hidden beneath later deposits, and is imperceptible in places. The platform can be reached via Bridge Street – a street in the Muslim Quarter at the level of the platform, actually sitting on a monumental bridge; the bridge is no longer externally visible due to the change in ground level, but it may be seen from beneath via the Western Wall Tunnel.
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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2012, 03:55:17 pm »

Jerusalem Modell, herodianischer Tempel. Das Modell befindet sich im Israel Museum beim Schrein des Buches.
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2012, 03:56:05 pm »

Israelite period

The hill is believed to have been inhabited since the 4th millennium BCE.

Assuming colocation with the biblical Mount Zion, its southern section would have been walled at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE, in around 1850 BCE, by Canaanites who established a settlement there (or in the vicinity) named Jebus.

Biblical scholars have also identified it with Mount Moriah where the binding of Isaac took place. According to the Hebrew Bible, Mount Moriah was originally a threshing-floor owned by Araunah, a Jebusite. The prophet Gad suggested the area to King David as a fitting place for the **** of an altar to YHWH, since it was there a destroying angel was standing when God stopped a great plague in Jerusalem.[10] David then bought the property from Araunah, for fifty pieces of silver, and erected the altar. YHWH instructed David to build a sanctuary on the site, outside the city walls on the northern edge of the hill. The building was to replace the Tabernacle, and serve as the Temple of the Israelites in Jerusalem.[
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